In the final stretch of Huelva's strawberry campaign, the producers in this province have already abandoned 50% of the hectares put into operation for this season, according to a statement from the manager of Freshuelva, Rafael Domínguez, who has highlighted the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on this sector.
Domínguez recalled that the state of alarm has been in force in March and April, which is when the harvesting season is usually at its peak. This has clearly harmed producers, since strawberry consumption has dropped significantly compared to other years.
According to Domínguez, the weather conditions in recent weeks have contributed to keeping the production stable, while the strawberry supply from countries like Germany, France, the Netherlands or Belgium has started hitting the shelves. This also applies to other seasonal fruits.
"At the moment, there is not much strawberry; less than in other years, and from now on, it will go mainly to the processing industry," says the manager of Freshuelva. This means that the campaign is coming to an end, and it is doing so early, compared to other seasons.
In fact, at this point in the campaign, the volume sold has been reduced by 21.8% compared to the last 7 campaigns, according to the Prices and Markets Observatory of the Andalusian Government. This is due to the closure of hospitality establishments because of COVID-19 and to the changes in consumer behavior. Thus, 68.06% of the strawberry volume has been marketed, instead of the 89.86% that should already have been reached by this time.
Regarding the price at origin, while in week 18, after some sharp drops, it reached 1 Euro per kilo, producers have been paid less than 90 cents throughout the health alert period. In the last week of April, it is estimated that the volume traded fell by around 10% compared to the previous week.